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Better Reservations for American Indians Essay

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2022

American Indians are commonly referred to as Natives in the United States. The reason being they are the original inhabitants of the land that forms the present-day United States of America (Raghavan et al. 3885). Before European foreigners intervened, the Native Americans had their own political, economic, and even social arrangements (Schröder 96). When European settlers arrived, these people were forced into reservations, where they have remained to this day. Europeans wanted to reside in the United States permanently when they arrived in the fifteenth century. They also went so far as to set aside land for farming and other activities. As a result, Native Americans were directly impacted, as this is where they used to hunt and harvest their food. Native Americans need to stay in their reserves, but the state of these reserves needs to be improved. It is best to allow Native Americans to continue thriving in their settlements and that they are accorded any support they may need.

To begin with, the new settlers were predominantly Christians. The Native Americans observed traditional religious values and practices. Aside from that, the new settlers were proto-industrial in their activities such as private land ownership, while Native Americans tended to leave the lands open for everyone to hunt and harvest (Glen 53). They also did not participate in a significant agricultural activity that required farming and tending to crop yields. This practice was done on communally owned land. Consequently, there was no formal documentation of land ownership as elaborate as the one provided by Europeans.

American Indians do not need to be given repatriations, and accepting them into American society will not assist them. Their way of life has been excluded from the mainstream American culture, and any return, which does not cover their need for individuality, will not be accepted. Native Americans view the land they live in as a natural relative and not a resource (Grossman 22). Reverence is given to land as though it is a living breathing entity. The reverence does not align with the common way of living in the wider American society.

Native American settlements need to be made in a way that allows this ethnic minority group to prosper in the spheres of life that are pertinent to their growth. Denied the means to access good health, employment, and education, they have had problems living comfortable lives. Assimilating them into society will also delineate them in the same sense other racial groups have been systemically delineated. Pumping more resources into the reserves that have been set aside for native Americans will help improve the quality of life there. The assurance that Native Americans will develop in a way that is sovereign to their identity as original inhabitants of America is more secure that way.

Research has uncovered a plethora of injustices perpetrated against Native Americans. In examining the roots of racial policies against Native Americans in the US, Skewes and Blume argue that American Indians “were subjected to policies meant to strip away their identities” (90). Zalcman provides a clear account of the systematic oppression of American Natives (72). The scholar reports “children were forcibly removed from their families and shipped away to Indian residential schools, sometimes hundreds of miles from the reservations.” (Zalcman 72). These realities are significant today as they illuminate the persistent injustices and marginalization of ethnic minorities in America.

New Americans continue to commit the same injustices by ostensibly assisting and abandoning them in reserves and living in large mansions on their ancestral property. Dominant groups such as whites continue to benefit from the wealth and influence that their natural resources have. Native Americans are underrepresented in positions of influence. While many may feel it is time to assimilate Native Americans into American society, there is little they can look forward to in the same society. Moreover, Native Americans need better living conditions. Their reserves need to cater to them in a way that reflects their posterity because this was their land long before the Europeans came. Orr et al. emphasize this need by asserting “American Indians are invalidated and support for greater resources and self-governing rights are diminished.” (2079). Supporting their reserves adequately will constitute fitting restitution.

Works Cited

Grossman, Zoltán. “Unlikely Alliances: Treaty Conflicts and Environmental Cooperation Between Native American and Rural White Communities.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 29, no. 4, 2005, pp. 21-43. Web.

Orr, Raymond, et al. “American Indian Erasure and the Logic of Elimination: An Experimental Study of Depiction and Support for Resources and Rights for Tribes.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 45, no. 11, 2018, pp. 2078-2099. Web.

Raghavan, M. et al. “Genomic Evidence for The Pleistocene and Recent Population History of Native Americans.” Science, vol. 349, no. 6250, 2015. Web.

Schröder, Ingo W. “Native Americans and Colonialism in the Longue Durée: Dancing with Incorporation.” Shifting Forms of Continental Colonialism. 2019, pp. 95-115. Web.

Skewes, Monica C., and Arthur W. Blume. “Understanding the link between racial trauma and substance use among American Indians.” American Psychologist, vol. 74, no.1, 2019, pp. 88. Web.

Zalcman, Daniella. “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”: On the painful legacy of Canada’s residential schools.” World Policy Journal, vol. 33, no.3, 2016, pp. 72-85. Web.

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